It’s concerning that some, out of worry about the future, are buying more items—toilet paper, frozen food, meat and vegetables—than they need or can use in a reasonable period of time. As a result, local grocery stores can’t keep up with the demand, and customers in true need find the shelves bare.

Two suggestions: To the worried shoppers, please think about what you’re doing. By buying more than you need, you may be putting neighbors and other citizens at risk—of exposure to the virus, of food insecurity, of inconvenience. We’ll get through this best if we work together and help each other.

Instead of over-buying, please consider the evidence. Visit and see what has happened in China. Check out also South Korea’s data. All indications are that both countries are already on the downside of this outbreak. Unless we mismanage the same challenge, we should be on the other side of this in a month or two. In the meantime, take care of yourself and your neighbors, especially the elderly and those with medical conditions that could compromise their immune systems.

To the stores, you provide a critically important service to our communities, especially at times like these. As long as you’re seeing panic buying, please limit the number of high-demand items that customers can buy. With your help, we can share the wealth.

Joseph T. Mark


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